East London will eventually be home to over 10,800 new homes, thanks to a massive development known as Barking Riverside. The former Barking Power Station site is to become a brand new neighborhood, complete with housing for about 29,000 people as well as 65,000 square meters of commercial space. It’s a huge undertaking, to say the least, so architects have had their work cut out for them from the beginning. The sheer size of the development makes even creating a model a challenge, but Hobs Studio, the largest 3D printing company in the United Kingdom, came through, setting a record in the process.
Barking Riverside is one of Europe’s largest brownfield developments, and its master plan model now holds the title of largest 3D printed master plan model in the UK. A very specific title, yes, but still impressive, especially considering the size of the model – 3.60 x 2.6 x 1 m. It’s built at a 1:750 scale and contains more than 1,000 buildings, while a third of the model consists of the River Thames. (Hobs Studio is no stranger to setting records, having also 3D printed the largest known map of England’s Northwest.)
The model was designed from LIDAR scans that were taken by airplanes flying over the development site, combined with the architects’ plans. It was then 3D printed on the UK’s largest SLA 3D printer, a 3D Systems iPro 9000 XL, which has a build area of 1500 x 750 x 550 mm. The model took four and a half weeks to produce, was assembled over the course of two days, and used about 35 liters of resin. It’s impressive to look at, not only in its scale but in its detail, down to the LED lights that switch on and off to give the appearance of a city full of life.
“At Barking Riverside, we are dedicated to investing in the best of future technology to help bring to life our vision for the development,” said Matthew Carpen, Project Director for Barking Riverside Limited. “We are pleased to be championing the use of this technology for the industry.”
3D printing is becoming a favored process for the production of architectural models, because it’s much quicker than other methods and can offer a much greater level of detail. The Barking Riverside project coordinators also wanted to have a master plan model that could be altered and changed as needed, because as anyone working in architecture or city development knows, no plans are ever permanent until the very end.
“Using technology and automation – 3D printing allows the production of models to run considerably faster, while also creating a more accurate and detailed result, through the use of 3D photogrammetry data,” said Michelle Greeff, MD of Hobs Studio. “It’s not just the printing that is a complex process – post-production is also key, with our specialist team adding in final details, to ensure that the model really captures the essence of Barking Riverside. We are proud to be the only company in the UK with the capacity to deliver such a large project to this tight time scale.”
Planning for the Barking Riverside project began in 2007, and it’s being carried out in multiple stages. At the moment, several hundred homes have been constructed and are currently being occupied. Plans are also in place for a new railway line, schools, large public open spaces and more.
You can learn more about the development of the 3D printed master plan below:
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